Herpes and Cold Sores
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections are very common worldwide with as many as 90% of American adults being exposed to the virus. Symptoms can be very mild or no symptoms at all so people don’t always realize they have herpes. For the majority though, outbreaks can be painful and compromise the skin for an extended period of time. Outbreaks are triggered by exposure to the sun, a fever, emotional stress, a weakened immune system, or an illness.
Oral herpes (cold sores)
Cold sores, also called fever blisters, can be very painful and are often large and unsightly. Some people have outbreaks once or twice a year while others seem to have recurrent lesions every few weeks. The virus can lay dormant for extended periods of time, showing no symptoms.
Everyone is at risk for oral herpes from HSV-1. It is transmitted through kissing or sharing drinking glasses and utensils. HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes, although HSV-2 is the main cause of genital herpes.
By adolescence, 62% of Americans are infected with HSV-1 and by the time people are in their 60’s, up to 85% have been infected. HSV-1 infects all people equally across the board. It doesn’t discriminate between gender, race or age.
HSV-2 is the main cause of Genital herpes, which is growing at epidemic rates now. All sexually active people are at risk for genital herpes. HSV-2 is spread through unprotected sexual contact.
Women have a higher risk of being infected as 1 in 4 women have HSV-2, compared to 1 in 8 men. Estimates of how many Americans are infected range from 20 to 30% of the population. Having multiple sexual partners puts you at even greater risk.
There is a much higher incidence of HSV-2 infection among adolescents and people in their 20’s, compared to the general population. HSV-2 is also 3 times higher among HIV-infected adults compared to the general population.
Rising Statistics in Genital Herpes
Genital herpes has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S.; 500,000 are diagnosed each year. One in five American adults has genital herpes; One out of four teens in the United States becomes infected with an STD each year and by the age of 25. Over 50 million cases are currently estimated to exist in either the active or dormant stage.
Only one third of those inflicted are aware that they have the virus. The other two thirds don’t relate their symptoms to herpes, since they have either very mild or no symptoms at all.
Know the early Symptoms
“Prodromal Symptoms” such as pain, itching, or tingling, often precede the blisters by one to two days. You may have a sore throat, flu-like symptoms or swollen glands in your neck. After the prodromal stage, blisters appear. They usually break open, and leak clear infectious fluid, and then crust over lasting 2–24 days. It is extremely important to be gentle and take good care of the area as the sores can easily cause scarring.
When the sores are completely healed, the active phase of infection is over. The virus retreats into the nervous system and lays dormant. Asymptomatic shedding (shedding without symptoms) can still occur when no sores are present.
When to see your Doctor
It is important to have a medical diagnosis if this is your first outbreak to be certain that what you have is HSV and to have a clear treatment plan. Whether it is your first outbreak or you have already been diagnosed, see your doctor if:
- You have a weakened immune system
- The cold sores don’t heal within two weeks
- Symptoms are severe
- You have frequent recurrences of cold sores
- You experience irritation in your eyes
The good news is testing can be done to detect the presence of the herpes virus. Knowledge is power so if you have a concern that you may have herpes, please get tested. Even if there is no active lesion you can still be contagious.
Solutions for Herpes
Once a person has HSV, although it may remain dormant for long periods, it doesn’t go away and currently, there is no cure.
Ultimately, a holistic approach that includes advice from your doctor is the best solution for either type of Herpes. A strong immune system will help lessen the frequency of outbreaks as well as healthy lifestyle choices, wearing chemical free sun protection year round and practicing excellent hygiene.
A number of professionals recommend lysine as a daily supplement. Your doctor may prescribe one of a number of anti-viral agents for the type 1 (HSV-1) herpes infection that causes cold sores. Zovirax (acyclovir) and Denavir (penciclovir) are available in cream form. Your doctor could also prescribe oral anti-virals as Famvir (famciclovir), Valtrex (valacyclovir), and Zovirax (oral acyclovir).
NeoGenesis for HSV
Before an actual outbreak, a day or so before, you may feel tingling, itching, burning, pain, or flu-like symptoms. When this occurs, apply our Recovery, abundant in our patented S²RM® molecules to deliver healing and nutrients to the affected area, up to four times daily. Continue use of Recovery two to four times daily until area is healed. Recovery can naturally speed the healing time of the lesions, rejuvenate the lesion area more quickly, and reduce pain and discomfort.
For any dryness or scabbing, use our Intensive Moisturizer to keep the area hydrated. Apply Intensive Moisturizer after Recovery for the best results.